World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) - Get Report said Wednesday it furloughed staff and pared salaries in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A report from Sports Illustrated said the company also released a number of wrestlers.
At last check WWE shares were up 1.6% to $38.98. The S&P 500 Index recently was off 1.74%.
The Stamford, Conn., company said it would also cut expense related to operations and talent, reduce third-party staffing and consulting, and defer spending on the buildout of its new headquarters for at least six months.
The WWE said Kurt Angle, Drake Maverick, Curt Hawkins Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Heath Slater, Eric Young , EC3, Aiden English and Lio Rush were all released.
The WWE said the actions will save an estimated $4 million a month, along with cash-flow improvement of $140 million, primarily from the deferred spending on the new headquarters.
The company, which is scheduled to release earnings on April 23, said it had about $500 million of cash and debt capacity "to manage the challenges ahead."
"Management continues to believe the fundamentals of the company’s business remain strong and that WWE is well positioned to take full advantage of the changing media landscape and increasing value of live sports rights over the longer term," the company said.
World Wrestling Entertainment has been deemed an "essential business" in Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to Orange County, Fla., Mayor Jerry Demings.
WWE will run live shows without fans after several weeks of taped programming.
DeSantis issued an executive order, effective April 3, that directed people to stay home unless they were providing essential services or participating in essential activities.
Jared Moskowitz, director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, said in an April 9 memo that a new category was added to the list of essential activities to include “employees at professionals sports and media production with a national audience” if “the location is closed to the general public.”
Public-health officials have been asking people to limit contact with others and employ social-distancing practices.
Most professional, collegiate and amateur sports have opted to shut down or postpone games, matches and other events, including the Olympics.
Last week, the company confirmed that one of its employees and a roommate became symptomatic in the days following exposure to two people working in acute health care on March 26.
The company also said the two individuals had no contact with anyone from WWE since they were exposed and that they both made a full recovery.